According to a recent report by Fox News, ISIS and Al-Qaeda — the two most feared terror organizations in the Middle East — may very well intend to join forces in coming months. This information comes by way of Iraq’s Vice President Ayad Allawi, who says ground intel in the Iraqi region has made some interesting discoveries suggesting some type of partnership between the two organizations.
Some may recall that Al-Qaeda spokesman Ayman al-Zawahiri has denounced actions taken by ISIS in the past, but sources indicate that as both camps lose ground, they’re looking to find a way to make a stand against increasingly heavy military opposition. That way, it seems, involves working together.
To completely understand the implications of such a partnership, it’s important to first fully grasp why the terror organizations have been at odds with each other for such a long time. Let’s recap.
According to reports, Al-Qaeda began garnering mainstream attention around the 1980s, under the leadership of the now-deceased Osama Bin Laden. After successful attacks on the Soviet Union, Bin Laden set his sights on the West. Sources claim his goal was to unite fledgling jihadist organizations worldwide to fight religious oppression, and countries like the United States were in the way. Al-Qaeda masterminded two 1998 attacks on two U.S. embassies in Africa, and the 9/11 attacks in 2001, solidifying a reputation for itself as a dominant player in international affairs. This new reputation, however, led to intense pressure from America and its allies, which eventually prevented Bin Laden’s Al-Qaeda organization from causing any more significant damage to America and the West as a whole.
As Al-Qaeda’s power waned, ISIS (also known as the Islamic State) was created. Originating in Iraq, ISIS was initially loyal to the Al-Qaeda regime, but differing viewpoints and methods of operation soon brought all ideas of an alliance to a halt. Where Al-Qaeda wanted to focus on America and the West, ISIS focused primarily on sectarian war within the Middle East. As its reputation for ruthless killing and unnecessary bloodshed grew, ISIS leader Abu Musab al-Zarqawi broke off all ties with the Al-Qaeda faction. Since the separation of the two powers in 2014, the organizations have warred against each other for resources, land, and manpower.
The fact that the two opposing forces may be joining together now could spell trouble for Iraqi, Afghani, and Iranian military forces. Separated, ISIS and AL-Qaeda leaders could be picked off, perceived travel routes could be guarded carefully, and terror operatives could be outgunned. Jointly, with access to shared resources and an allegiance from a staggering amount of devotees, the terror organizations that once controlled the land could very well take it back again.
On the other hand, some sources indicate an alliance could also be a sign that national forces are doing an effective job eliminating threats from perceived terror operatives. For two warring factions to now attempt to make amends and concentrate on joining forces could mean they’ve reached a dire situation. And, according to Fox News, the threat of a revamped terror organization could mean more support for national military forces.
If Iraqi Vice President Ayad Allawi is accurate in his assessment, officials from Iraq, Afghanistan, and Iran will have to work quickly to come up with new ways to attack a rejuvenated threat. On its last legs, ISIS and Al-Qaeda — two terror factions that have invoked fear in so many for such a long time — will be willing to go to great lengths to keep what little power they have. While several hold out hope that the Middle East and its allies will be able to wipe out both Al-Qaeda and ISIS once and for all, Vice President Allawi isn’t so sure. In a recent interview, the 72-year-old was frank.
“I can’t see ISIS disappearing into thin air,” he said. “They will remain covertly in sleeping cells, spreading their venom all over the world.”
Only time will tell if his prediction is right.
[Featured Image by Karim Kadim/AP Photo]